Bacalao Guisado (Stewed Salted Cod)

October 22, 2012

For this edition of Lunes Latinos we are cooking one of my favorite dishes: Bacalao Guisao’. This dish is done with salted cod which in the Dominican Republic is known as Bacalao. The term Bacalao seems to be widely used across other Latin American countries but this salted fish seems to be more popular in the Caribbean. The salt and drying process were originally done to preserve the fish in times before electricity and long travels but now is intentionally mass produced this way.

Bacalao is consumed in the Dominican Republic year round but is mostly prepared in almost all Dominicans households during Lent and Easter. Growing up, Bacalao was mostly cooked three ways:  “guisado” which means stewed, in scrambled eggs and in locrio (with rice). Other ways of cooking bacalao that I personally have never tried are: bacalao fritters, bacalao in creamy coconut sauce and bacalao salad. It is definitely a versatile fish, as ten other recipes using bacalao came through after a  search in the blog Hispanic Kitchen.

Is bacalao/salted cod popular in your country? how is it mostly used? Let us know and share your recipe.

Stewed Salted Cod (Bacalao Guisado)

As the cod comes heavily salted and dried it needs to be re-hydrated and desalinated by soaking it in cold water over night, changing the water one more time for at least an hour before cooking it.

Stewed meat and fish are very popular in the Dominican Republic and the basic ingredients for a stew are garlic, onion, cubanelle peppers and plum tomatoes. Herbs like cilantro and culantro are also a big part of flavoring sauces and stews.

I tend to only use natural ingredients but when I don’t have much time to slow cook the stew, I add tomato paste for a rich and thicker consistency.

Once all the veggies have cooked down and the sauce taste to your liking we add the fish flaked into pieces.

Let the fish absorb all the wonderful flavors of the stew and then it will be ready to serve.

Bacalao Guisado (Stewed Salted Cod)


12 ounces of salted cod filet

1 medium vidalia onion (sliced)

4 large garlic cloves (chopped)

3 plum tomatoes (sliced, or crushed)

1 large cubanelle pepper, bell pepper works too (sliced)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup water

1 tablespoon tomato paste


Cover the salted cod in cold water overnight. Change the water the next morning and replace it with new water. Let the fish soak for another hour before cooking.

Boil the fish for 5 minutes. Take out and set aside.

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, peppers and garlic. Stir for 5 minutes and add tomatoes. Once onions are translucent and tomatoes broken down, add water and cover.  Bring heat to low and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Add tomato paste, stir well and add fish. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 more minutes and then it will be ready to serve.

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